October 12, 2003


City Council Oks Revocation Hearing
On the 23rd of September 2003, I brought the agenda item of the lack of proper notice and the issuance of an illegal variance to build upon a sub-standard lot at 130 East Scenic before the City Council. After much discussion and the input from some of you participating neighbors, we achieved a preliminary victory--the Council agreed to have the matter set for a public hearing to consider revocation of the permit before the Planning Commission on the 6th of November 2003. I would now once again enlist your help to speak before this Commission to demonstrate your support for this revocation action.

Proposed Ordinance May Bring Urban Sprawl To Pt Richmond
Sub-Standard Lots - Additionally, as many of you know, residents of the Pt. Richmond Community in the neighborhoods of Pacific, Buena Vista, Water, and Sante Fe streets, have been struggling not to let the City erode the 6,000 square foot minimum size lot zoning ordnance (SFR-2), which ordinance applies to most of the hilly region of Pt Richmond. Deputy City Attorney, Everett Jenkins, has informed me that the Planning Commission will have an open hearing on the over-all sub-standard lot issue. The Planning Department in conjunction with Richmond’s Community & Economic Development Department is eager to eliminate the 6,000 square foot minimum-zoning ordinance. The Commission has scheduled the proposed ordinance to be discussed at an open hearing on the 16th of October 2003, at City Hall.

Infill Program - It seems that there is much more to this October 16th meeting than I have previously learned from the City Attorney’s Office. Judy Battle, at the Planning Department, contends that the thrust of the hearing at the Planning Commission is the brainchild of Lisa Hamburger at the Community & Economic Development. It seems that the Planning Department has in concurrence with the City Council, been instructed to implement the low-cost housing “Infill Program” which will allow developers in the City of Richmond to develop sub-standard lots without needing a variance, design review or other traditional authorization. The plan goes something like this: The developer would select a home design from a number of inexpensive home designs, which have been previously approved by the Design Review Board. The building lots, which almost all are below standard zoning requirements, would be expedited through the planning department without all the usual hurdles and restrictions.

Urban Sprawl - Although low income housing is a worthy goal of the City, unfortunately, their blanket exemptions would allow the indiscriminate development of sub-standard lots, without public oversight, which would also include Pt. Richmond. Such urban sprawl would be a disaster for Pt. Richmond’s designated low-density areas and would likely undermine housing values.

Attendance At Hearings - It is imperative for members of the Pt Richmond Community to attend both these hearings. The more speakers from the community, the better chance we have of defeating the attempt by the Planning Department to trash the zoning ordinance for a 6,000 square foot minimum.

Hearing Dates - The staff report to the Planning Commission is confusing, ambiguous and perhaps misleading. Our presence en masse is necessary at this hearing on the 16th of October as well as the 6th of November to prevent the across-the-board evisceration of our protective zoning ordinances. If anyone would like to see this 20-page report, I would be happy to share it. It is rumored that the Planning Commission is not too pleased with the proposed action; however, I still do not trust them to do the right thing.

Posted by fredarm at October 12, 2003 10:29 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?